CARBONDALE — Warnings from the Chicago Police Department about a rap group from Chicago that was scheduled to perform in Southern Illinois this past weekend caused two law enforcement departments and a university to cancel shows at three different venues Friday.
The rap group FBG Duck was originally booked to play at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Center on March 30, but a call from the Chicago Police Department to the Southern Illinois University Public Safety Department informed the college about the group’s violent history, according to Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry.
Henry said Chicago Police told SIU the group was dangerous — they allegedly come heavily armed with firearms, they sell drugs, and many are members of the south-side Chicago gang Gangster Disciples. Henry said there are known members of the Black Disciples in Carbondale, and the two gangs are rivals.
SIU canceled its event and the message from SIU was relayed to Carbondale authorities. Henry said the act was then booked at Club 262 in Carterville.
Club 262 owner Sabrina Gavin-Smith told The Southern Monday that she booked the group for an after-party when they were finished at SIU. She said she didn’t know much about the group before Friday other than it usually brings a large crowd.
On Friday, while club staff were preparing the venue for the weekend festivities, several Williamson County Sheriff’s Office vehicles appeared and presented her with the information about the group. She was also informed that the Sheriff’s Office shared the same information with the Williamson County Liquor Commission and ordered the club be shut down until Tuesday.
“I understood where they were coming from,” Gavin-Smith said. “I just didn’t like the way they went about it.”
She said she wishes the police would have allowed her to cancel the show and go another route, which she said she would have. Instead, she felt like she was punished as a business owner. She said there was a completely different party scheduled on Saturday that had nothing to do with that group.
“Had I known that guy or saw his videos before then, I would have never booked him,” she said. “It didn’t seem like they (Sheriff’s Office) cared that I still had a business to run.”
After the event was shut down in Williamson County, Henry said the city was fearful the show would get rescheduled in Carbondale. This is when the city went to speak with Hollywood Lounge owner Bobby McBride.
McBride told the city on Thursday the group did reach out to him and he agreed to host the show, Henry said. Henry said authorities informed McBride about the history of the group and urged him to cancel. Henry said McBride called the city at about noon that Friday to inform them he had cancelled the show. The city was still concerned because the show had gained a lot of traction on social media.
“Our fear was that these guys would show up anyway and take over the bar,” Henry told The Southern. “They had also posted (on social media) that somebody in Carbondale was going to 'smoke it' this weekend, meaning somebody was going to die.”
Henry said the liquor commission decided the only way to really stop the potential violence and to help McBride was to close the bar. He said the city manager polled the other liquor commissioners — members of the Carbondale City Council — and once he reached three yes votes, along with the mayor’s vote, it was enough to sign the order.
The order was signed at about 2 p.m. Friday and closed the bar until noon on Monday.
“We were really fearful they would show up anyway,” Henry said.
He said he was acting legally in his role as liquor commissioner for the city, and in accordance with the city code, saying it was a welfare and a public safety issue with the group coming to town.
Henry said the city doesn’t have anything against rap groups playing in Carbondale and praised the April 28 Ice Cube show set for SIU Arena, but this particular group could have caused problems.
“This group is volatile,” Henry said.
The Southern reached out to McBride for comment, but did not receive a return call by press time.